It’s always stressful picking out classes for the upcoming semester, and it gets even more stressful when you think about trying to take classes that will help you in your future career. In my opinion, these types of courses can be divided into classes that will give you expertise in specific skills that your future job requires, and classes that will help you no matter what you choose to do as a career.
If you know some kind of information like a job title you would like to have in the future, you can then go on an employer’s career site and see if they have any matching titles. From there, you can look at the “Requirements” section, which will tell you what specific skills they are looking for candidate to possess. Some of these skills, like Excel experience for Finance positions, can be learned from previous jobs, but it is always impressive to employers when a student applying for a position have relevant coursework where they had to use something like Excel to complete a class project.
The information that the class will cover can be found on your school’s registration site, or you can email the professor to see if the skill will be covered. Another example of a skill like this would be something like MATLAB. Many jobs that combine engineering with business require some background in it, so that’s the type of job you think you might be interested in in the future, it would be wise to take a class that covers it.
Some classes will help you out later in life no matter what job you decide to pursue. One example of a class like this is Public Speaking. Many jobs require giving occasional presentations, and showing employers that you are comfortable with it is a great selling point. Also, any class that has a lot of group work will prepare you to work in a team, which is highly important in the business world.
Even though these skills might not be something that is technically required by the company that you’re interested in, they are classes that will provide you with a good background knowledge of how to work well with others and do your best, no matter the position.
Finally, taking classes that relate to your field of interest after graduation can help you in networking. Your professors are experts in the field and can point you in the right direction regarding internships and other opportunities if you develop a relationship with them. They can serve as great sources for letters of recommendation. Also, your peers are likely interested in similar fields as you if they are taking the same class, so take advantage of their knowledge too!
Kaitlyn Lannan is a sophomore at Northwestern University. She is majoring in economics and communication and plans on attending business school. Her dream job is becoming Chief Marketing Officer at a Fortune 500 company. You can find Kaitlyn on Twitter at @KaitlynLannan.